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Backlash of Trump’s Proposed Merger of EEOC and OFCCP

2017-05-31

Seventy-three civil rights groups send letter to Acosta and Mulvaney with their protests

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, ACLU, the NAACP, the American Association for Access, Equity and Diversity, the National Women’s Law Center and 68 other civil rights organizations, have signed and delivered a letter dated May 26, 2017 to Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta and OMB Director Mick Mulvaney asking that the Trump administration abandon its merger proposal.  The letter was also copied to Acting EEOC Chair Victoria Lipnic. 

Some excerpts of the letter include “Whereas the EEOC seeks to remedy complaints of discrimination in employment, OFCCP more broadly oversees the employment practices of federal contractors, who are required to proactively monitor workplace diversity and pay equity, to make a meaningful effort to recruit qualified applicants from groups who are under-represented in their workplaces, and to break down barriers to equal opportunity for various disadvantaged groups, including veterans and individuals with disabilities.  As a result of the different missions of the two agencies, they have developed different areas of expertise and use different enforcement approaches.

Federal contractors are appropriately held to these high standards of workplace fairness given that they are entrusted with taxpayer dollars.  Transferring OFCCP’s extensive knowledge of the federal procurement process and responsibility for systemic review and analysis to the already resource-strapped EEOC is likely to result in a significant net reduction in federal commitment to ensuring that federal contractors promote equal employment opportunity on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability or status as a protected veteran, significantly harming the countless individuals across the country for whom employment opportunities depend on these protections.”

“Nor does the EEOC have the capacity to absorb OFCCP’s many unique functions, harming the EEOC's ability to fulfill its existing more expansive enforcement priorities,” the letter continues. “The EEOC has an extremely heavy workload and a well-known backlog of over 70,000 open yet unresolved cases. OFCCP systemic, affirmative compliance responsibilities cover employers employing nearly a quarter of the civilian workforce. This is an extensive set of enforcement responsibilities that an already over-burdened and under-resourced EEOC, which has existing enforcement priorities that extend beyond the pool of employers OFCCP oversees, does not have the capacity to absorb, especially in light of the draconian budget cuts contemplated by the Administration and Congress.”

According to Emily Martin, General Counsel and Vice President for Workplace Justice at the National Women’s Law Center, “The administration’s proposal to eliminate a major civil rights agency is a clear-cut assault on equal pay and equal opportunity for working people. Eliminating OFCCP would hobble the federal government’s capacity to identify and remedy pay discrimination and other forms of sex discrimination in the workplace. The plan to transfer OFCCP’s enforcement obligations to EEOC—without providing EEOC the necessary resources to do this work—means that this critical work will very likely be abandoned. This frightening and short-sighted proposition must be rejected.”

As previously reported on May 24th in the Employment Law Daily, the proposal has not been well-received among business and employer groups.

The foregoing has been prepared for the general information of clients and friends of Workplace Dynamics LLC and is not being represented as being all-inclusive or complete. It has been abridged from legislation, administrative ruling, agency directives, and other information provided by the government. It is not meant to provide legal advice with respect to any specific matter and should not be acted upon without professional counsel.